SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Life (and traffic) returns to normal – Wicked Local

The Rev. John F. Hudson| Columnist

Well I left my job, About five o'clock, It took fifteen minutes, To go three blocks, Just in time, To stand in line, With a freeway looking, Like a parking lot. Damn this traffic jam....

-- James Taylor


I beeped my car horn this past Friday, while sitting in an epic traffic jam on Route 128, at that most hellish of times for auto congestion, the late Friday afternoon commute. Folks all rushing to get home or rushing to get to the Cape or rushing to get to the mall or rushing to get to their kids'sports game or just rushing for the sake of rushing, I suppose. With white-knuckled grips upon the steering wheel, we commuters started and stopped and rolled and halted in an all too familiar vehicular dance.

Cars and trucks were backed up as far as I could see, behind and in front of me. I sounded my horn when an errant BMW SUV cut me off, zooming by on my right, in my blind spot; hence the toot. But he or she only made forward progress for a car length or two because very quickly they were also at a dead stop in that sea of vehicles, a tsunami of packed and idling pick-up trucks and sedans and minivans and delivery trucks, lined up from horizon to horizon.

Damn this traffic jam.

The odd thing, the telling truth of this story is that it was the very first time Id found myself trapped in this kind of traffic since March of 2020, some 14 months. Like everyone else in our COVID times, Ive lived a largely traffic-free existence for some 400 days. In those carefree times of driving without delay, I glided with nary another car around, down a quiet Route 93. I maneuvered like a silent and meditating monk over the Mass Pike. I vroomed up to Vermont on deserted stretches of Route 89. I even zipped right through the middle of downtown Boston and found a parking space without a hassle. Thats a miracle!

It was driving bliss then. But now? Traffic is back.Big time.

According to statistics from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, at the height of COVIDs grip on our state, traffic was down by a whopping 60% in April 2020. But one year later, we are all back behind the wheel, it would seem. By mid-last month, traffic was down by only about 10%. And now in mid-May? Full on traffic has returned, as if it never missed a beat, was hiding and just waiting to make its comeback.

So too returned is my high blood pressure and scrunched-up shoulders and fuming frustration that always manifest in a driving slowdown or a terrible traffic jam. I fiddle with the radio. I call 511 on my phone to get the latest traffic update. I listen to my book on tape in the hope that it can soothe the savage beast just below the surface of my spirit. It cries out. LET ME OUT OF THIS TRAFFIC! NOW!But the traffic gods are fickle and so I sit. I wait. I watch as the time to arrival estimate on my GPS goes up and up and up.

There are so many realities that were and still are just awful when it comes to our COVID lives. So many deaths. So much sickness. So many unemployed. So many businesses shuttered, and houses of worship closed and ball games cancelled and face-to-face visits with loved ones curtailed. Like everyone else I want to escape the weird times weve been living in. Yet I also confess Im a bit anxious about our return to the status quo.

Because if COVID has taught us anything it is this: there was some grace to be found in how much our world slowed down and our lives opened, and how we had space to breathe in this past year. To clear out and simplify the calendar. To spend so much more precious time with the people in our households. To be reminded of just how important our relationships are in this life: with family whom weve zoomed with weekly, and friends weve shared driveway cocktails with, and jobs made less stressful when performed from home.

And with traffic that went away.

Im not saying we should go back somehow, no. Absolutely not. But I am wistful about what we are losing and seem on track to return in the coming months. Busyness. Rushing. Stress. Already cries of Im so busy! and My schedule is jam packed! and My weekends are booked solid! are becoming the norm again in conversations. What a gift it would be if we could leave COVID behind but retain some of the space, the amazing space, and the extra time and the quiet and the simplicity we were given in the 14 months just passed.

Thats what I was thinking about last Friday, as I sat in my car, averaging a top speed of four miles per hour.

Damn this traffic jam.

The Rev. John F. Hudson is senior pastor of the Pilgrim Church, United Church of Christ, in Sherborn (pilgrimsherborn.org).If you have a word or idea youd like defined in a future column or have comments, please send them to pastorjohn@pilgrimsherborn.org.

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SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Life (and traffic) returns to normal - Wicked Local

Time for a spiritual vaccine – The Times of India Blog

Almost everyone is turning to God and seeking solace, guidance, help, protection and offering prayers, chants, doing havans and what not. Ive always said Religion is an organised relationship with God, filled with dos and donts, right and wrong, good and bad, heaven and hell, and involving procedures, rituals and penance. Spirituality on the other hand is a direct connection with the universe. Its your own direct hotline which connects your energy and cosmic energy with the incredible knowledge that you are one with the infinite. It doesnt need geography, timelines, diktats or mediators in the form of priests or maulvis. Most people at this moment are praying for health and longevity, but when you realise that wellness is holistic and that it inextricably links your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual self, you realise that there are internal paths you need to walk on, in order to achieve what you desire. We are all focused on a physical vaccine to protect us from a deadly external virus.

Yet, when you study metasciences, you understand how your thoughts create emotions, and how when those emotions are chronic they in turn become toxic and create disease within your physical body. Hence in order to build a strong immune system to counter a perceived physical threat, the emotional & mental viruses of anger, stress, frustration, helplessness, hopelessness, jealousy, greed are what you need to vaccinate against first. A spiritual vaccine is one that involves infusing your mind with positive thoughts (not allowing your fears & negative emotions to overpower your positive charge and dreams), genuinely wishing well for others (not hating them for what they have and you dont), spreading love & kindness (not being caught up in your own dramas and taking it out on others), and most importantly expressing gratitude for what you do have in your life. Its amazing when you look at your life how much you have to be grateful for. Every living family member, every wonderful memory a late relative left you with, every material object you surround yourself with and every breath you do take. There is always a larger picture and whether its a specific God or a Universal energy you relate to, this is the time to vaccinate yourself with your belief in them and to access all thats good, strong, positive, noble and generous within you. Its often said that your inner world shapes your outer world, so I ask you to look within and then look no further.

1. Of late I have been seeing my husband messaging late into the nightand I am not sure if it is just for official work. How should I go about asking him what its about without making him angry?

Tell him that for a healthy marriage its important to have the phone put aside at a particular time. Else whether its work or chat groups or random friends sending messages and jokes theres no allocated time to bond and grow together as a couple. If he doesnt comply and you feel theres a woman involved, simply laugh and ask him who the other woman is. And then snuggle up next to him and ask him what is so important taking his attention away from you. You will know by his tone and body language and how he moves his phone, whether its work or something else.

2. My spouse and I always shared a fun relationship, but of late in these times he becomes moodier and snaps back at the smallest excuse. I agree the pandemic can take a toll on peoples minds and I do let many things go past, but I do want us to have that equation again.What should I do?

Be fun non-stop for a week! Laugh, crack jokes, be goofy, be cute, be adorable and see whether that draws him out. If it doesnt, then sit him down and tell him you miss us and that you miss fun. Agree on a code you can use every time he snaps like ice age and use it with emphasis each time he behaves unfairly. Sometimes say it with a cheeky smile and walk off, sometimes say it with a sad face and walk off, and sometimes say it with a frowny face and walk off. The purpose is to let him be aware how often it happens and for him to assess whether his reaction was unjustified.

3. A few years ago my brother in law made a pass at me. He has always been this friendly, fun, and caring person and I have to confess that I loved the way he flirted with me. I felt so wanted and desired those days. And I went with the flow. We never crossed the line though we never kissed nor had sex with each other ever. However, sometimes when my husband and i are having sex i think of him, fantasize about him. Of course I know this is not right but then i am not actually committing anything wrong. Am I being unfaithful? Is mentally fantasizing about another man wrong?

You cannot stop your mind from wandering, and if you do, please share your technique with everyone who is meditating on this planet. You are not responsible for your thoughts, but you are responsible for your actions. There may have been times you wanted to slap someone, or perhaps even thought of killing someone. At some point you got over those desires and thanked yourself for not letting them get the better of you. Same with this situation! What you need to however watch is your desire to obsess over it, because that will lead to you crossing lines if given the opportunity.

Views expressed above are the author's own.


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Time for a spiritual vaccine - The Times of India Blog

The spiritual healing path is a way to healing your mind, body, and spirit – ABC 4

Mikayla Vo, Intuitive Healer and Founder of Enlightened Healing Hands joined us in the studio to share about her inspirational journey and to discuss intuitive healing and spiritual awakening.

She wanted to share about her spiritual awakening and how her healing journey has helped her heal from many years of domestic violence and abuse. Causing lots of PTSD, emotional and physical traumas. She suffered severe chronic migraines and was on heavy-duty prescription drugs.

When she started her awakening journey, she was very confused. There were a lot of Chaos in her life from ending one toxic relationship to another. She had been in the deepest and darkest corner of her life full of physical and emotional traumas and pains.

Mikaylas doctor prescribed all types of antidepressants, sleeping pills, and pain medications for her chronic migraines and constant body ailments. She thought to herself, do I have to live life like this for the rest of time? She prayed for a solution and the universe answered. She was shown an awakening path and that she had the power to heal. It hasnt been an easy journey the past 10 years, but it was all worth it. Today, she is completely free from all pharmaceutical drugs and living the life she once thought was impossible and that she did not deserve.

After almost 10 years of her healing journey, she has been trained in many different healing modalities and has worked with plant medicines as an ally. Plant medicine has saved her life and allowed her to do powerful healing work.

As an Intuitive Healer, she can assist you in releasing and healing physical and emotional traumas. She is a certified Reiki Master and teacher, Celtic Shaman, Certified Sound Healing Practioner, Plant Medicine Facilitator, ceremonialist, spiritual guide, and coach.

What is spiritual awakening?

Spiritual awakening is an awakening of a dimension of reality beyond the confines of the ego. The ego is our exclusive sense of self or I. Awakening occurs when the ego somehow lets go so that a higher self or spirit can arise within. Spiritual awakening is the process of returning to the original self, but the experience of rising to a higher state of consciousness which is what makes us truly human

Signs of Spiritual Awakening:

-Life with Amplified Chaos.

-You start to feel disconnected or detached. Everything will start to feel overwhelming and confusing. All relationships will be challenged and people will start to disconnect from you. Your emotions will be high and sometimes you can feel physical illness.

-Your relationships will begin to shift.

-Spiritual Awakenings are transformative, and the people in your life wont always be able to appreciate that. You will feel like your loved ones dont understand you anymore because youre changing. Be sure to ask your loved ones to respect what youre going through, reminding them that they do not have to resonate with you at this time.

-You experience more synchronicities and vivid dreams:

-You will start to frequently experience synchronicities and deja vu moments. Your dreams will start to become more vivid and clear how they connect to your journey.

-You become more intuitive and increase empathy.

-Your newly heightened intuition or new intuitive abilities starts showing up where it had been buried beneath the layers of your ego self. You start to feel more in tune with yourself and others around you. You begin to find your new tribe and want to be of service to others. You realize everyone is on their path.

-Your senses are heightened and you may experience some physical symptoms at times. Sudden changes in your routines or habits. You may feel alone at times but feel more connected to the natural world.

What is Intuitive Healing and how does it work?

Intuitive healing is when practitioners use their gifts to work with the bodys natural energetic field. The practitioner will utilize visualization and intuition to work with the life force energy to locate, shift or remove any imbalances in the bodys energetic system. The client is then able to work on releasing the energy that is stuck in the body causing stress, pain, or anxiety. Intuitive energy healing reinforces the bodys natural ability to heal.

Mikayla invites you all to step into your Spiritual Awakening Journey and live your life in harmony, peace, happiness, and purpose. She says, Please feel free to reach out with any questions. Let us all heal together as a community and collective.

Check out Enlightened Healing Hands upcoming events:

Sacred Cacao Ceremony: May 23, 2021

Awakening your Sacred Divine Consciousness Retreat: Aug 05-Aug 08, 2021.

For anyone interested in Healing with plant medicines. Please check out some testimonial videos on her Instagram.

Find Mikayla online, and IG.

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The spiritual healing path is a way to healing your mind, body, and spirit - ABC 4

DEBRIS Uses Science Fiction to Tell a Moving Spiritual Story – Nerdist

Advanced alien technology drives the plot of NBCs Debris. Those fragments have governments plotting with and against one another. But throughout the first season the show has been telling a much bigger story, one unconcerned with either science or geopolitical concerns. The series has raised existential questions about what it means to be a part of the universe. Because while each piece of the destroyed spacecraft can act in a unique way, theyre all connected. Not only with one another though. Theyre connecting emotionally with people, in a way that feels more spiritual than scientific. Debris explores one of sci-fis best ideas, in the same way as films like Contact, Interstellar, and Arrivaldid.

The issue of what the debris means, rather than what it can merely do, has been present from the beginning of the series. Finola (Riann Steele) believes the destroyed spacecraft came to mankind for a reason. That its presence here has a greater purpose. Her faith in someoneor somethingother than science has already proven powerful in its own way. It pushed her to save people during otherwise hopeless situations. Like when they put the farming community into suspended animation. It also helped keep Bryan (Jonathan Tucker) grounded when alternate timelines split the fabric of reality apart. Her faith guided him across dimensions.

That seemingly supernatural element proved even more relevant in the shows eleventh episode, Asalah. The debris forced Bryan to relive a tragic event from his past because it remembered him. He had come in contact with a different piece earlier in the season. Once he was safe from the experience, Finola told him all of those pieces may be connected. Not just to each other, but also to any person it touches. Its how the debris used another person to reach out to Bryan, though Bryan didnt learn the reason behind the message.

More than real scientific concepts like worm holes and alternate dimensions, this development moves the spiritual nature of the show from an idea to its most important aspect. The series international intrigue is a major element in making the show interesting. It raises the stakes of every mission Bryan and Finola go on. All while weaving together multiple plots into one overarching conflict. But whats clear as we approach the end of the first season is that alien technology unto itself is not what the story is truly about. The most relevant question is much bigger than which nation will rule a single planet. Its about existence, and how were all a piece of something far bigger than ourselves, our country, and even our planet.

Weve seen debris manifest memories. In the pilot it brought back a mothers dead son. Those pieces can wordlessly feel, feed from, and communicate with people who touch it. Now we know those fragments can even retain peoples memories and make them experience them again. The debris is empathetic, as though every piece is alive. They can soothe your pain and comfort you. Or force you to face something youd rather forget. It can become a part of you and make you a part of it.

We dont yet know the reason the ship showed up in Earths orbit. Or why its communicating with Bryan. But we know those unanswered questions point toward answers more meaningful than any potential alien invasion or world domination. Its why, despite its scientific roots, at its core Debris is becoming about something more incorporeal. And that combination of sci-fi and spiritual is a formula other science fiction stories have used to to say something powerful and moving about existence.

Interstellar was as scientifically dense as any big budget sci-fi film. But ultimately it ended up being about how were all connected in ways we dont always understand. There are powerful, measurable forces in the universe. But none of them account for intangible forces like love and a desire to save each other. Those forces transcend space and time.

Contactfollowed Jodie Fosters Dr. Ellie Arroway, a scientist and atheist. Like Debris, the film relied heavily on real scientific concepts. But in the end, when she returned from her journey and the world didnt believe she had made first contact, the movie turned out to be about a different kind of faith. A faith that we are not alone, even if we cant always see whoor whatis also out there. And sometimes all we have is that blind belief that goes beyond the scope of satellites or spacecraft.

Arrival also ended up being a a very different story than it first appeared to be. It explored what might happen during our first interaction with aliens. But it was really about love and the connections we make with others. The language of life is not words or signs. Its something ethereal that binds everything. And those connections, the only ones that matter, can traverse the laws of physics as we know them.

Debris fully embraced this idea when it traveled far away from Bryan and Finolas mission to Arizona. There, a Native American narrated his peoples beliefs about the nature of the world, all while admiring a setting sun alone in the desert. Rather than feel out of place, that scene felt like the perfect metaphor for what ideas the show is really interested in. Debris has far more in common with the tradition and ideals of the Four Directions than it does a theoretical physics class.

Each of those films used complex scientific concepts to say that, in the end, we cant always measure or understand the things that matter most. Just like debris from a ship, were simply a small part of something much bigger than any of us. And that is a force that connects each of us to everyone and everything.

Its also an idea that continues to make for compelling science fiction, for a story like Debris that has something to say about what it means to exist at all.

Editors Note: Debris is produced byLegendary Television. Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.

Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at@burgermike, and also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.

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DEBRIS Uses Science Fiction to Tell a Moving Spiritual Story - Nerdist

Spiritual Side: Food Distribution Drive-Thru in DeLand on May 15 and 29 – The West Volusia Beacon

At First Presbyterian Church of DeLand, Pastor Michael Bodger will teach from the Gospel of John, 17:619 on Sunday, May 16. Both the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services will consider these last words of Jesus, a prayer for those disciples God has given Him, who will soon stand alone upon Christs arrest and Crucifixion. Jesus prays, They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth of your Word.

How does todays world know this about Christians? We live into the truth of Jesus teachings so counter to the world around us. We belong to Him!

This spring, volunteers have been nurturing the churchs Community Garden as part of the commitment to Earth Day and certification as an EARTH CARE CONGREGATION since 2016. Chairpersons Fred Hoffmann and Jim and Carol Nichols invite members to join in this mission, which already has given food to various missions of the church.

First Press Food Distribution Drive-Thru will open again Saturday, May 15, and Saturday, May 29, to provide food boxes to needy families. It will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the entrance to the church parking lot on West Pennsylvania Avenue; volunteers will load the food boxes into cars until 11:30 a.m.

Jesus, Our Light of the World

The Rev. Elizabeth Carrasquillo of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of DeLand, continues her sermon series on Jesus at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday, May 16, service. Her topic May 16 is "Jesus, Our Light of the World, based on John 8:12-20. Open Communion is a part of every service.

The General Board has unanimously voted Christina Coulter as church musician. She has been providing special music during each weekly service.

Coulter recently returned to DeLand, her hometown, after attending college in Oklahoma. First Christian welcomes her to its church family.

On Sunday, May 16, and Sunday, May 23, the Pentecost Offering is being received to support new church development in regions of the United States. Half of the offering is for training, equipping, assisting and multiplying new church leaders.

The Disciple Women are doing outreach in the middle of COVID by collecting hygiene materials for The Bridge and kits for The Neighborhood Center. Hygiene supplies may be donated to the church office 8 a.m.-noon Monday-Friday, by anyone in the community. Edna Cortes is coordinating the project.

Sue Brague, president of the Disciple Women, has developed the College Scholarship Project for members of the congregation who are attending colleges and universities.

Dr. Janet Raney and Brague welcome students 4-6 p.m. Thursdays in the church library for Homework Hotspot Tutoring.

First Unitarian Universalist Church of West Volusia in DeLand is continuing to host virtual services at 10:30 a.m. Sundays. Those wishing to attend are encouraged to join over Zoom from 10:15 a.m. to 10:25 a.m. for greetings before the service begins. The Zoom ID for Sunday services is the same every week: Zoom ID: 927 1881 9188.

On Sunday, May 16, the topic will be When Opportunity Meets Readiness. Patricia Goodwin, LCSW, will share with the congregation the amazing benefits and transformations she has humbly witnessed as an eight-year volunteer mentor to a Toastmasters group in a womens correctional facility.

Second-chance programs in correctional facilities aim to provide skills, preparation and enhanced self-awareness for incarcerated individuals. This paves the way for successful re-entry, productive work and relationships, and reduced recidivism. Every dose of compassionate validation and guidance to hurting individuals can lead to exponential growth and discovering lost selves.

Regular group meetings continue on Zoom: The Book and Poetry clubs each meet monthly, the Covenant Group meets every two weeks, and the Mens Group meets weekly.

Unitarians are an open-minded, openhearted spiritual community, where all are welcomed to learn together. The church can be contacted through http://www.uudeland.org to learn more.

From Distracted to Present

Time never seems to slow down. With the rapid pace of time, there always seems to be so much more to get done than we have time to accomplish.

And then there are all the many things that come along and distract us from our tasks and lead us off into other endeavors. It is so easy to get distracted, and sometimes distractions are a way of avoiding those things we really dont want to do, but still need to get done.

On Sunday, May 16, First United Methodist Church of DeLand will be concluding the Unsubscribe series with the topic From Distracted to Present. The congregation will look at how to unsubscribe from distractions and how to subscribe to being present.

How often do we find ourselves disconnected from the situation we are in and the circumstances surrounding us by failing to be present and attentive to those around us and the realities of what is going on in front of us?

First Church provides in-person traditional worship at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the sanctuary, and has a contemporary service at 9:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center. All three services are streamed live on Facebook on the First Church DeLand page, or they can be accessed through the website at Firstchurchdeland.org.

First Church offices are open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Call the office for additional information at 386-734-5113.

Mosaic Unitarian Universalist Congregation, while not meeting face to face, is meeting online at 11 a.m. every Sunday. The May 16 service is titled Resilience.

So many have suffered in our world as the COVID-19 pandemic has ripped through lives. Families have been brought to their knees, and any of us could be or could have been affected by this devastating epidemic: brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends or family members. Join Steven Merens on May 16 for his talk on the miracle that brought him back from near death from COVID-19. He will explore the resilience of the spirit, the soul, community connections, health, and how all of those contributed to his experience.

Worship leader Judy Raymond will guide everyone through the service. All are welcome! For instructions on how to join the virtual service, email to mosaicuuc@gmail.com.

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Spiritual Side: Food Distribution Drive-Thru in DeLand on May 15 and 29 - The West Volusia Beacon

‘Run the World’ is the spiritual successor to ‘Living Single’ we deserved all along – Yahoo News

Series creator Leigh Davenport, stars Amber Stevens West, Bresha Webb, Andrea Bordeaux, and Corbin Reid, and showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser at the "Run the World" LA premiere. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The new Starz show "Run the World" centers on a group of four best friends living in Harlem.

Showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser, who wrote "Living Single" too, told Insider her brand is "sisterhood."

Its depiction of friendship among Black women makes it a worthy follow-up to "Living Single."

Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

In 1993, Yvette Lee Bowser brought "Living Single," the groundbreaking sitcom that inspired "Friends" and a legion of other half-hour comedies, to TV. The show's iconic theme song reminded viewers that "whenever life gets tough, you gotta fight with your homegirls standing to my left and right."

Back then, the ambitious, fun-loving, and "tight like glue" group of women (and men) who were the focus of "Living Single" lived in a Brooklyn brownstone.

Fast forward to 2021, and Bowser is at the helm of the new Starz half-hour comedy "Run the World," acting as executive producer and showrunner alongside series creator Leigh Davenport ("The Perfect Find," "Boomerang"), who also serves as a co-EP.

The fun, vibrant new series continues to bring Bowser's signature brand of "enviable female friendship," as she calls it, to the masses.

The four leads of "Run the World" in a still from the show. Starz

In "Run the World," which is part of Starz's #TakeTheLead initiative (a commitment to amplifying the voices of women and underrepresented audiences), four thirty-something Black women are intent upon world domination in covet-worthy fashions, with Harlem as their backdrop. The show stars Amber Stevens West (Whitney), Andrea Bordeaux (Ella), Bresha Webb (Renee), and Corbin Reid (Sondi) as four friends with a lifelong bond. Or, as Renee puts it in the trailer, "We've known each other longer than we've not known each other."

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For Bowser, who's been making TV since 1987, a show focusing on female bonds is perfectly in line with the stories she's interested in telling. The longtime creator says sisterhood is central to her existence.

"Some of my most important and life-saving relationships are with my female friends and relatives. I enjoy paying homage to how that inner connectivity gives us life," she told Insider during a recent virtual press junket for the new series. "We're constantly redefining ourselves, but to be able to do that with women who pick you up? It's like no other feeling."

Yvette Lee Bowser at the "Run the World" LA premiere. Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Starz Entertainment

And while Bowser and Davenport, who are both Black women, use comedy to disarm audiences and show them "our humanity," Bowser doesn't take her storytelling legacy lightly. To her, it's a tremendous responsibility that she takes "very seriously."

Bowser took it so seriously that she tapped "Living Single" alum Erika Alexander to join "Run the World" as a new character, Barb.

The conversation with Alexander started as a one-off opportunity to appear in the pilot, according to Bowser. But after reminiscing about their "Living Single" days, it soon morphed into an opportunity for Alexander's Barb to play with this new, modern iteration of sisterhood and offer a multigenerational presence to the enterprising friends on a recurring basis.

While the Starz comedy's vibe is "us vs. everybody," that doesn't mean the beautifully flawed women at its center don't have issues with themselves and with each other.

Sondi, the doctoral student, is sleeping with her advisor. Ella's writing career needs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Renee's five-year-old marriage is headed for divorce, and Whitney is second-guessing her upcoming wedding to her long-time boyfriend.

West's character Whitney in a still from the show. Starz

Whitney is that girlfriend who colors inside of the lines. She plays by the rules because she believes bad things happen when she gives herself freedom. On the surface, West's Whitney has a picture-perfect life. Although she's weeks away from her lavish wedding, Whitney is longing for some juicy experiences.

West told Insider that the show feels real and "looks a lot like my real life," especially Whitney's ride on the struggle bus.

"I spent a lot of my early twenties feeling like I needed to please everybody," said West. "I was concerned with the optics, following the rules and making sure that I didn't let anybody down."

While that approach can keep women like West and Whitney focused on their goals, there's a downside. "You might not look inward enough. You might miss out on how you're truly feeling in the moment," West added. "That's where Whitney is in life. On paper, she has everything, but she is still not sure [of herself]."

West isn't the only "Run the World" star who can really relate to their character.

Like Whitney, Renee also plays by the rules-as long as she's the one writing the commandments. Webb, who plays Renee, admits to being the Renee of her own crew in real life. "It's not a stretch for me. Renee is very unapologetic in the way she lives her life and gives advice to others," the Baltimore native told Insider. "I feel like all women have those friends that call them out and have strong personalities."

And viewers can count on Renee to be herself in some of the season's most memorable moments, like in the bodega when a "colonizer" tries to dominate her space, or in the club when a bouncer rejects her entry into Souljah Boy's VIP because she and Ella are older than the women behind the velvet rope.

Webb hopes Black women see themselves in Renee, Whitney, Sondi, and Ella, and she fondly remembers seeing glimpses of herself in certain shows. "I grew up watching 'Living Single' and wanting to live in New York or looking at 'Girlfriends' and saying, 'Oh, my God. I'm goofy and awkward, like Joan.' And I also related to 'Sex and the City' and saying, 'I'm Carrie Bradshaw.'"

The four leads of "Run the World" in a still from the show. Starz

Webb, who recalled how she and her friends would hop on the famous Chinatown bus from B-more to the Big Apple and "get dressed up in a Burger King bathroom and twirl around and have brunch" in order to have her own big-city moments like the women from their favorite shows, told Insider she'd get downright emotional if a "Run the World" fan told her they saw themselves in her character.

"If a girl came up to me and said, 'I'm so much like Renee.' I would cry on her face. 'Cause that's the good stuff," she said.

But most of all, Webb loves how "Run the World" shows the nuances and complexities of Black women's friendships: "It's juicy. It's sexy. It's fun. And it's a mess."

"Run the World" debuts Sunday, May 16 at 8:30 p.m. EST on Starz.

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'Run the World' is the spiritual successor to 'Living Single' we deserved all along - Yahoo News

CRiver: Church of God Mission gets first indigenous spiritual leader – Vanguard

An empty churchBy Ike Uchechukwu

The Church of God Mission international, CGMi in Cross River state has showered encomiums on her new spiritual head, Rev. Chris Ekpang for his historic elevation as the first indigenous leader of the church since the church came to the state over 36 years ago.

This was during a special welcome Thanksgiving/Celebration service in honor of the Bishopric Coordinator at the Churchs Bishopric headquarters in Calabar on Sunday .

In his homily entitled, Fulfilling a divine mandate, chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Rev. Lawrence Ekwok said promotion only comes from an excellence performance in discharging a previous mandate.

The cleric who took his bible text from Joshua 1:1-11 explained that Joshua was careful to understand the scope of his mandate, trusting God to help him to discharge his mandate.

He charged the new Coordinator to follow the steps of Joshua by taking charge of the responsibilities given to him and be careful to learn the secret of good success as enshrined in the scriptures.

In his remarks, chairman of the ceremony, Edward Deekae reminded the CGMi cleric of the expectations of Christians from him.

He encouraged him not to despair no matte the circumstance he may find himself in.

He said: The position of a bishop is not that of indolence but that of courage and truth. You all may agree with me that God specially choose Reverend Chris Ekpang who is a qualified lawyer to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth in the similitude of Saint Paul the Apostle.

Preach against maladministration, youth unemployment, corruption that is the palpable cause of poverty in the midst of abundant resources especially in the Niger Delta. As you take up this new role, may you show an outstanding example of a modern bishop, he said .

In his response, Rev. Ekpang was delighted at the honor accorded to him. He promised that he will not fail as the elevation is call to higher responsibility. He called on Christians to continue to look up to God for help since the government of the day has failed.

He word: I want to thank God that Im from Cross River state and more importantly, I thank God that Im a member of the Church of God Mission.

Ive served God in the church on various capacities and working behind the scene and so this is another opportunity to serve God in a high level and greater dimension so I feel that by the grace of God and by the Spirit of God doing His work through me, God will still do His wok using me as an instrument.

My ultimate goal now is to make heaven and I tell people I know that the road to heaven is not hell, so I cannot be cutting corners, applying the word of God selfishly and then planning to go to heaven. And so the same way, by the grace of God I have served God honestly and sincerely, is the way I will continue.

This is a call to higher responsibility. Whether you are a bishop or a coordinator, it means that the church of God mission in Cross River state, by the virtue of constituent of the number of churches, you are a pastor of all the pastors in all the branches.

For instance, in Cross River state we have over 20 churches, so youre a pastor to all the churches, youre a pastor to all the pastors so you do both administration of persons, administration of systems and then you minister the word of God, that is the demand of the office.

Our relationship as Christians and as pastors is vertical to God and horizontal to man and just as the chairman of the occasion said today, this is the time to look up to God.

Every Nigerians knows that right now, in terms of security and public facilities, the government has failed and has presently proven that it is completely incapacitated so we need to look up to God to help us, he said.


CRiver: Church of God Mission gets first indigenous spiritual leader - Vanguard

Are You Experiencing Bloating? | Spiritual and Physical Wellness – ChicagoNow

By Sheri McIntosh, Sunday at 5:59 pm

Have you ever tried buttoning your pants and felt like it was a struggle? Not a struggle because of weight gain but a struggle because your belly seems larger than usual. Your belly feels swollen and full. You may be bloated. I think of bloating as being like a balloon full of air and you want to let the air out. Sometimes it can be painful and make you irritable.

The most common cause for bloating is gas. Although, the causes for bloating may vary. The root cause for most bloating usually involves the food you consume. Eating too much fatty food can lead to it. Even consuming some healthy food including beans, vegetables, and high fiber foods can cause it. If you are Lactose intolerant consuming dairy can lead to bloating. Eating too fast, drinking a lot of soda, or being dehydrated can cause it. Consuming artificial sweeteners and processed foods can lead to bloating because your body may have a difficult time digesting them.

If you are bloated there are things you can do to reduce it. Exercise by doing light cardio for 30 minutes. Try stretches including knees-to-chest, childs pose, seated forward bend pose, and legs-up-the-wall pose. Legs-up-the-wall pose works great for me. Attached is a link with instructions on how to do it. Legs-Up-the-Wall: How to Do This Yoga Pose (healthline.com)

Also, make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Eat food with probiotics and avoid salty and fatty foods. Food with probiotics include apple cider vinegar, cottage cheese, yogurt, Miso soup, and kefir. Eat your food slowly and do not overeat. Ginger helps to reduce bloating. There are over-the-counter products that treat it.

Occasional bloating is not something you should be concerned about; however, if you have consistent bloating you should speak with a healthcare professional. Persistent bloating can be an indication of a serious health condition.

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Are You Experiencing Bloating? | Spiritual and Physical Wellness - ChicagoNow

Between the lines: Do we have the spiritual grit our beliefs require? – The West Volusia Beacon

This coming Sunday, May 16, is the birthday of the Christian Church.

The term Christian Church refers not to a denomination or an organization, but to the body of believers in the person and work of one Jesus Christ, of Nazareth.

Some who mark Pentecost will not observe it until the following Sunday, May 23, because of differences in calculating when the day should be set.

Almost 2,000 years ago, a tiny band of believers in Jerusalem grew into a spiritual force of more than 3,000 on Pentecost. That number would grow exponentially.

From that day forward, believers spread the word of what they had seen and experienced, and the world was forever changed.

The first Christians message was met with opposition from many, notably those who wanted the status quo establishment, both religiously and politically, and who felt threatened by a message calling upon people to love one another and forgive past wrongs.

Despite threats of imprisonment, beatings, torture, confiscation of goods and death sometimes in the most heinous ways, such as being thrown to lions or being burned alive the message continued to advance, the new faith gained more followers. The gates of hell could not prevail.

The suffering of people who call themselves Christians continues today. The world has not changed in that regard.

In many countries, Christians are under assault and giving their last full measure of devotion on this Earth for what they believe in the realm unseen.

One example and there are many may suffice:

In Myanmar, the military government persecutes viciously ethnic-minority Christians. Chin Christians have been driven from their homes and villages, reports Barnabas Aid, a charity that provides relief to believers in need.

The army has even used artillery against some villages where Christians live. In March 2020, the government used a fighter jet to strafe villages, killing at least 28 people and causing fires that destroyed homes.

Chances are, you never heard about it. In spite of their suffering, including trying to survive in overcrowded displaced-person camps, the Burmese Christians are remaining true to their faith.

Could what is happening in Myanmar, and what happened in the Roman Empire, happen here?

U.S. News & World Report recently noted that only 47 percent of the United States population maintains membership and attendance in a house of worship. The nation is becoming more secular, as the spiritual sphere diminishes.

Interestingly, the late Billy Graham warned as far back as 1957 that the day may come when Christians in America would be called upon to suffer for their faith.

Since we have experienced little religious persecution in this country, it is likely that under pressure many would deny Christ, Graham wrote. Those who shout the loudest about their faith may surrender soonest. Many who boast of being courageous would be cowardly. Many who say, Though all others deny Christ, yet I will never deny Him, would be the first to warm their hands at the campfires of the enemy.

If you are a believer, what about you? If our government turned against us, would we defect from that spiritual kingdom we claim as ours?

Too many American Christians want their faith to be comfortable, something that does not require effort and, if need be, the sacrifice of their lives here and now for a greater Cause that transcends the ages.

At this season of Pentecost, at this juncture in the history of our nation and the world, do we you and I have the spiritual grit to remain true to what we say we believe?

Happy Pentecost (Shavuot)!

Excerpt from:

Between the lines: Do we have the spiritual grit our beliefs require? - The West Volusia Beacon

MENTAL HEALTH WEEK: It’s Important To Remain Mentally Healthy And Spirituality Can Help – South Asian Link

By Dr. Kala Singh

May 3 9 is Mental Health Week and its important to remain mentally healthy. I am giving spiritual counseling, in which emphasis is given how to manage some mental illnesses and remain mentally healthy through spirituality. I will discuss some of these concepts in this article.

The modern life style gives a lot of stress, mental tension and mental illnesses. Stress do not cause mental illness in itself, but can trigger it in people who are predisposed. With so much of mental tension in our daily life, it is necessary that we all know the symptoms, causes, types and available treatment for mental illnesses. Because of lack of knowledge, it becomes difficult for people to recognize the symptoms of mental illness. Having proper knowledge helps in the treatment of the patient. Mental illnesses are so common these days that every one must know their symptoms, so that as soon as these are seen in some one, family doctor is contacted and the illness is diagnosed and treated in its early stage. It is always easy to treat the illness in its early stages than in chronic. Mental illnesses cause physical illnesses and vice versa. The important thing is that every one must have the proper and correct knowledge. Because of lack of information, there are a lot of misgivings about mental illnesses like, jadoo, toona, evil spirit, evil eye, black magic, ghosts, bhoot, prt and curses. I have seen that when some one gets sick everyone starts giving suggestions. Though these suggestions are meant for the betterment of the patient, most of the times they strengthen their belief in these misgivings. There are many people who claim they can find solutions to these problems through supernatural powers. The truth is that there is no remedy for these problems except through proper medication.

Because of the ignorance about mental illnesses, if a member of the family gets mental illness, we consider it to be a disgrace to the family. It becomes difficult to arrange marriage in the family. So we try to hide the disease. We quietly take the patient to deras of sadhs, traditional healers or astrologers for the treatment and waste valuable time and hard earned money on useless rituals. By the time patient is taken to the doctor, disease is in its chronic stage. Now we have scientific proof that like physical illnesses, mental illnesses can also be treated with proper medication.

Just like physical illnesses there are many types of mental illnesses like worry, anxiety, sadness, depression and delusions. We all know a lot about physical illnesses and how to remain physically healthy, but the knowledge about mental illnesses and how to remain mentally healthy is lacking. To keep ourselves physically healthy we take care of our diet, take regular exercises, do regular blood tests for sugar, cholesterol etc. In the same way we ought to take care of our mental health. Because of the lack of knowledge, many people are becoming mentally sick. To keep ourselves mentally healthy we ought to take care of the following:

Pride, Haumai, is the term the Gurus use to account for the flaw in human personality. Ego is the interpretation of the word.

The Guru says that Haumai is a serious disease.

The source of evil is not Satan, but our ego. Ego is one of the main mental health problems. Acceptance of humility and rejection of pride, ego, haumai is the main principle of Sikhism.

Maya is the term used for the temporal world and human attachment to it, called worldly attachment. Sikhs believe that maya is the universe created by God for human beings to enjoy and is real, but too much of attachment to maya is not good. Humans can make choices and because of that choice, if one falls victim to maya, one cannot blame God. Maya is one of the five evils of Sikhism, including Kam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Ahnkar, i.e. Lust, Anger, Greediness, Attachment and Pride. The Guru says:

Sexual desire and anger waste the body away. (Guru Granth Sahib 932).

All of these evils are acceptable and good for health when under control, but unacceptable when out of control and are bad for health. For example, love turns to lust and affection to possessiveness. The Gurus advises everything in moderation.

The Guru says:

The more he tastes, the more he is diseased, without the Guru there is no peace and poise. (Guru Granth Sahib 1255)

The Gurus stopped Sikhs from using intoxicants. The Guru says:

Drinking it, he forgets his Lord and Master, he is punished in the Court of the Lord.

Do not drink the falls wine at all, if it is in your power.

O Nanak, the True Guru comes and meets the mortals, by His Grace, one obtains the True Wine.

He shall dwell forever in the Love of the Lord Master, and obtain a seat in the Mansion of His Presence. (Guru Granth Sahib 554).

All these concepts are necessary for perfect mental health. The Guru says that one should live in the world of Maya like lotus flower in a pond. Lotus lives and takes its nutrition from the pond, but does not get wet and dirty from the pond and lives above the wetness and dirtiness of the pond.

Dr. Kala Singh did MBBS degree from Delhi University, India. He worked as Psychiatric Doctor in Africa for 21 years before immigrating to Canada. He gives Sikh religious and spiritual counseling and psychotherapy to clients with stress and mental health problems. For more information he can be contacted at 604 3275253


MENTAL HEALTH WEEK: It's Important To Remain Mentally Healthy And Spirituality Can Help - South Asian Link

Prince Harry feels US is his spiritual home as he gears up to welcome baby girl – The News International

Prince Harry is preparing for the imminent arrival of his daughter in California abode

Prince Harry has renewed energy and positivity as he has settled perfectly in his California abode.

The Duke of Sussex is not letting old grudges hold him back as he prepares to welcome baby girl.

Journalist, author and mental health advocate Bryony Gordon, who once interviewed Prince Harry, recently spoke to Daily Telegraph about what living in the US means to him.

She said: "The anger of the past has gone, and it has been replaced with a sense of purpose. California is not just Harrys physical home for now it is also his spiritual one, where nobody thinks anything of openly discussing their struggles.

"And the Prince Harry we cant see is perhaps the one we dont want to the one who is getting on just fine, happily following his own path outside the conventions we are used to seeing him in. Hiking. Taking the dogs to the beach, she further explained.

"Preparing for the imminent arrival of his daughter. Speaking his truth in the hope of helping those who are unable to, and not caring how cheesy anyone might think that sounds," Gordon went on to add.

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Prince Harry feels US is his spiritual home as he gears up to welcome baby girl - The News International

Cause & Effect: Where is Your Focus? – The New Indian Express

Hiranyakasipu, a demon king who ruled the three worlds, abhorred Lord Vishnu for having killed his brother Hiranyaksha in his Varaha Avatar. The demon king ordered the sages and celestials to worship him instead of Lord Vishnu as God, and those who disobeyed were harassed and punished and their yagnas destroyed. The tormented rishis, along with Brahma, sought refuge under Lord Vishnu, narrating their tale of woes. The time had come for Lord Vishnus next avatar.

Hiranyakasipus wife was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. She used to hear hymns in praise of Lord Vishnu and her unborn son, Prahlada, also heard them when he was still in her womb. He grew up into a devout young boy and was duly initiated into Gurukula. He kept singing the glories of Lord Vishnu and encouraged the other boys too to emulate him. On hearing this, Hiranyakasipu was furious and ordered the boy to be tortured till he mended his ways. Lord Vishnu protected the boy from all the harrowing experiences. Prahlada remained unshakeable in his faith, much to the chagrin of his father. Frustrated, Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada, Where is your Lord Vishnu?

Everywhere, Prahlada said.Inside this pillar too? he asked.Yes, replied Prahlada.

Blind with rage, Hiranyakasipu slammed the pillar with his mace and Narasimha, in his frightening form of half-lion and half-man, emerged with a roar. With Hiranyakasipu immobilised in His lap, Narasimha sat on the threshold of the building, and tore the body of the demon king with His sharp fingers. To evade death, Hiranyakasipu had received a boon from Brahma according to which he could only be killed when it was neither day nor night, neither inside not outside, and by neither a man nor an animal. The tyranny ended and Prahlada inherited the throne and remained a devout and righteous ruler.As soon as Yogi (Corporate Yogi) finished the Puranic story, I straightaway got into the session with the first question:

How does this story connect with a CEOs life?CY: If you look at it, the character traits of Hiranyakasipu and Prahlada are in stark contrast to one another. Given his ideas of conquering the entire cosmic universe and proclaiming himself God, the father was obviously working on end results or effects; whereas the son, Prahlada, was working on cause, knowing well who the true lord was. While Hiranyakasipu was frenetically trying to expand his territorial monarchy and meting out punishments to those who didnt accept him as the supreme lord (it is fine if this reminds you of corporate situations), Prahlada was busy creating a promising future for himself by working on cause.

You recall lag vs. lead indicators? The message a CEO can discern from this Puranic episode, is to either choose to concentrate on control and results or focus on making the cause work for him (similar to Prahlada being protected from all harm by Vishnu, the Cause of everything). The why and how should take precedence over the what. Hiranyakasipu had to go through strenuous penance to become worthy of receiving the boon as a special reward, but the blunder that caused the tides to turn against him was when he tried to exercise his control over the source of the boon itself.

If Hiranyakasipu had learnt from his botched attempts at punishing his own son and tried to atone for the sins he had committed, he would have turned towards Lord Vishnu and got himself endeared to Him, as he had been prior to receiving the boon. Instead, all he was doing was sinking deeper in the cesspool, blinded by his senseless fury.

Can you elaborate on this idea, sharing some insights from a corporate situation?CY: I intend to do that myself. In the corporate world, we can find many examples where individuals/managers, aiming to grab more turf, engage in kingdom-building activities and find themselves inexplicably caught in the interplay of office politics. If they can ask why when such things pop up, it will give them a way to look at solving these proactively instead of being drawn into such negativities. Instead, what is disheartening is to find them focussing too much on what; they tend to point a finger at a colleagues fault or put the other team into a comparison trap, and try to project themselves as a cut above the rest.

The concept of discrimination is an important factor in decision-making and problem-solving and we can see that employees rarely spend time on introspection and development of discriminative intelligence. Man is endowed with the greatest intellectual faculty called Viveka or the ability to discriminate. This ability is not to just discriminate between good and bad, right and wrong etc. but to explore beyond those limitations. True Viveka enables one to differentiate between cause and effect. At every stage in life, you will have the ability to make a choice, considering the situational factors. Every choice creates a set of consequences that follow and once the choice is made, it is next to impossible to reverse or manipulate the impending outcome, as the choice is on its way to getting executed or manifestedstrategise and execute, to use corporate parlance. The best choices come from the best questions. As Voltaire would say Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.

What kind of questions do you suggest?CY: Before I speak about the kind of questionsI hasten to add it is also important for the CEO and leaders to create an open environment where everyone feels free to ask the right questions. To ensure CEOs of high-growth companies get the optimum results they are hired for, it is imperative on their part to spend at least a third of their time thinking about business strategy, making adjustments, taking calculated risks, and communicating these decisions throughout the organisation. This kind of structured strategic planning should become a norm and must be diligently followed by CEOs, even in some of their day-to-day activities, by deciphering what will cause the effect. The questions they need to ask to get the required result would have to cover a wide range of possibilities, whether they are karmic based or management-related.

Karmic questions could cover points such as: how to make people think positively to build positive karma; how should I be treating my team members; how to build a culture of positive conscience to take the organisation through its chartered path, etc. Management questions could deal with points like: why do I want the result that I am aiming for or have been asked to aim for; why should my team cooperate with me to reach the goals that are laid out for the organisation, and so on and so forth.Excerpted with permission from The Spiritual CEO: The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Your Business Using Spiritual Principles by S Prakash, published by Westland Publications

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Cause & Effect: Where is Your Focus? - The New Indian Express

Voices of Faith: Re-imagining the covenant as we mark Shavuot – Record-Courier

By Rabbi Michael Ross| Record-Courier

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot begins at sundown on Sunday and concludes two days later, on Tuesday, at dusk.

Shavuot is not a well-known, or deeply celebrated holiday compared to Passover, Chanukkah, and Yom Kippur. Seven weeks after the Passover seder, Jews mark the spring harvest festival with cheesecake and dairy feasts. Because this holiday is rooted in the experience of Mount Sinai and the desire to maintain our obligations through education, this holiday has been a time when many synagogues hold their confirmation ceremonies and graduation ceremonies in honor of student learning.

At Passover, Jews try and relive the myth of leaving slavery in Egypt and entering freedom. Seven weeks later, we enter the other complimentary, bookend myth, of arriving at Mount Sinai and experiencing revelation. At Shavuot, we are wondering about the terms of the covenant, and how we can fulfill this covenantal relationship in contemporary times.

Traditionally, this was understood as observing the 613 commandments, or mitzvot. I want to offer us a new take at the covenant to try and make it relevant today.

About a decade ago, I realized that few Jews in my generation felt obligated to perform the commandments. Unlike my parents generation, which still feels a sense of obligation, my generation needed to find direct ways to connect to the sense of obligation to spiritual living and spiritual community.

I call this re-imaging of the covenant, the Four Embraces. They are four categories of spiritual life that can encourage us to become our best selves.

Practice embracing holiness in your spiritual self-care. What brings you a sense of groundedness, and centeredness in your life today? Whether its prayer, meditation, yoga, running, gardening, How can I cultivate a deeper, nourishing practice that will replenish my body and my soul?

Experience: During the pandemic, I rediscovered bike riding, and embraced this practice on a frequent basis this spring. When I am alone on my bike I notice a deep sense of gratitude and presence in my life.

Practice embracing holiness in your relationships. When do you notice holiness in your relationships? How can you be radically present to your beloveds and friends? Can I spend more time actively listening to these folk and deepen each of my relationships?

Experience: I could be a better active listener. Its a spiritual challenge for me to set aside my own ideas and explore the perspective of the person I am encountering. When I do this work, I build trust in the relationship, and I become more attentive to how I can be a better listener.

Practice embracing holiness in your spiritual community. Pandemic life has upended many of our communal practices. How have we maintained a sense of community through these dark times? How will our spiritual communities change to adapt to this crisis?

Experience: Zoom prayer services and Zoom Torah study have been invaluable for us. When I am in my spiritual community, I notice that I dont only take care of my own needs, but I also try and function for the benefit of my communitys needs.

Practice embracing holiness in your lifelong learning. Many of us stop our formal learning after we graduate from college. Many spiritual seekers stop formal education when we affirm our spiritual path in a coming-of-age ceremony like a bar mitzvah. How many of us never learn about our spiritual wisdom traditions as adults? How can we bring our adult perspectives and mature thinking to our spiritual lives? How can we become curious about our wisdom traditions?

Experience: Pandemic living has asked us to think differently about our lives. I have spent much time expanding my knowledge about issues we are facing as a community: racial justice, climate change, and poverty.

What I love about these four categories is that it does not matter if one is more observant or less observant. Each individual can find their own path, based on their own life experiences to this work.

This Shavuot, as we recommit to our covenantal relationship to divinity, may we find ways to embrace these four spiritual practices to bring balance, holiness, community and justice to our lives.

Rabbi Michael Ross is the Rabbi at Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson and the Senior Jewish Educator at Kent State Hillel. He also teaches in the Jewish Studies department at Kent State.

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Voices of Faith: Re-imagining the covenant as we mark Shavuot - Record-Courier

Meghan Markle is Diana’s ‘spiritual heir’ and ‘Age of Meghan’ will last for years – Daily Express

Royal expert Daniela Elser said "events are still nearly being exclusively interpreted through the lens of Meghan" despite more than a year passing since she quit royal duties with Prince Harry. Ms Elser added that the Duchess of Sussex has a "total and utter psychic dominance over the house of Windsor" along with a "vice-like grip on the public imagination".

Writing in news.com.au, the royal commentator said: "Buckingham Palace might be desperately intent on turning the page from the Sussexes but turns out, they are not even holding the book.

"Love or her loathe her, what no one seems to be when it comes to the lightning rod Duchess is indifferent.

"The strength of emotion she generates is such that the Age of Meghan is years, if not decades, away from coming to a close.

"The press and the public are still wholly in her inadvertent thrall. (Yes, I do have a mirror, why do you ask?)

"This is not, in any way, a situation of her own making, in fact Id wager the pregnant mum-of-one would very much fancy a break from being the relentless focus of the worlds attention.

"But, sorry, I just dont see that happening.

"In this, the 39-year-old former Suits star has proven herself to be her mother-in-law Dianas true spiritual heir, a glamorous rule-breaker who still casts a very, very long designer shadow over the palace years (if not decades in the princess case) after her exit.

"Diana famously said during her 1995 Panorama interview that she wanted to be 'queen of peoples hearts'; Meghan, whether she wants to be or not, is queen of peoples heads and social media feeds and long may she reign over us."

READ MORE:Prince Harry laments 'feeding frenzy' of paparazzi hunting Meghan

They plunged the Royal Family into crisis with their Megxit decision.

Meghan and Harry announced bombshell plans to step back as senior royals in January 2020.

They had wanted a dual role, earning their own money while supporting the Queen.

But the plan was deemed unworkable amid fears they would be accused of cashing in from the monarchy.

The Sussexes officially ended royal duties in March 2020.

They plunged the Royal Family into a fresh crisis a year after Megxit with their Oprah Winfrey interview.

Meghan and Harry made a set of explosive claims about the royals in the tell-all interview, which aired in March.

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Meghan Markle is Diana's 'spiritual heir' and 'Age of Meghan' will last for years - Daily Express

8 Women in Spirituality to Know in 2021 – PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ --In 2021, It's time for you to connect with your higher self!Check out these amazing guides you need to know by Pagne PR.

Captolia Eaton

Captolia is a brand strategist and social media coach that uses intuitive strategies to create magic for tarot readers, crystal shops, healers, and more! Her advice? "Be radically authentic in everything you do. Don't water yourself down to be palatable. And don't let anyone say that you can't make a living from your magic."

Emily Estes

Emily is making tarot, astrology, and personal magic fun and accessible for all. She combines learning strategies with spirituality to create tools and resources that encourage others to discovertheir own psychic powers. "I want to do whatever I can to show others how much magic they truly have."

Hope Carpenter

Hope is a spiritual medium and reiki master. She prioritizes personal development, inner work, heart-healing, and cultivating an ongoing relationship with the realm of spirit. "I want to train other women to awaken their own abilities so that my work becomes a domino effect that ripples out way beyond what I'm doing."

Kristina Bakrevski

Kristina is a visual artist and spiritual guide for the modern woman, empowering others to tap into their Higher Self for more creativity, magnetism and prosperity. She shares intuitive astrological downloads with her audience. "Supporting women who are hungry for transformation is what lights me up and motivates me."

Maria Concha

Maria, a Mindset and Manifesting Coach, teaches women how to master their minds and manifest anything they want without worry and fear. Her method is all about breaking through limiting beliefs on a subconscious level. "I'd love to reach millions of women and help them move forward with the tools they need to attract incredible experiences."

Maryann Moloku

Maryann is a Business and Mindset Coach working with ambitious female entrepreneurs. She mentors her growing community on how to use manifestation and strategy to grow their online business. Her advice? "It starts with shifting your mindset and the realization that everything that happens is a result of our thoughts, our beliefs, and how we feel."

Mystic Mary Kate

Mary Kate is a virtual assistant for Witches, Mystics, and Spiritual Entrepreneurs. Her role as your witchy VA is to cast a spell on your business anxiety! "I love that I get to implement my passion for mental health into my services and see how the stressof my clients decreases as I assist them with their business tasks."

The Venusian Oracle

Andrija, known as The Venusian Oracle, uses her intuitive flow, experience, and training to help women navigate their healing journey. Her mission is to show women how to be their own healers. "I want to reach as many women as possible, helping them grow, build and succeed in their lives showing them that the mind, body, and spirit connection is the key."

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8 Women in Spirituality to Know in 2021 - PRNewswire

Spirituality – From one end to other – Goa Chronicle – Goa Chronicle

Today as we look around us, we find chaos everywhere in every field. The havoc not only on roads or societies but in our minds also causes extreme torment. The current situation that the world is facing for a year or two has somewhat developed a huge fear in the minds and hearts of people for their life and living. The chaotic events in minds lead to an imbalance of the emotional, mental and spiritual well being of a human.

Understanding more, the mental and emotional balance of a human can be controlled somewhere and can be got back to. But when it comes to spiritual well-being, it becomes complicated to maintain that equilibrium. Now, what does Spirituality in the general sense mean? If put in one line it can be said, it is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. On a general note, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. It is a Universal human experience- something that touches us all.

People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness. However, the personal definition of spirituality may differ throughout life, adapting to the experiences that one has.

As long as spiritual intelligence is concerned, it says to be the capacity of an individual to possess a socially relevant purpose in life by understanding self and having a high degree of conscience, compassion, commitment to human values.

In todays era, when lives arent pausing even for a moment to let the living being enjoy its charm, spiritual well being is certainly something that matters the most- to keep oneself alive from within. People in the race of life to be at the top, forget to accept and relish the fact that to feed the tummy one earns grains but to feed the soul, what are you earning? The answer to this question most of the time is on a negative slope and we keep aside the most important factor to be discussed and thought upon.

Ignoring mental and emotional and spiritual well-being can cause a major plague later after. It is as simple as that, any building to be strong enough to live for the longest of its capacity should have a strong foundation. If the foundation will be ill-treated then how come we expect the building to serve to its longest capacity.

Spiritual intelligence not just spiritually serves the person only, rather it helps understand people, the purpose of their existence to see the things they are. It helps enjoy an increased ability to pick out the actions, experiences, beliefs, and values that create greater meaning and purpose. It may be noted that the self-healing therapy- Spirituality helps make an animal a human being, making him grasp and live the beauty of life and feel the sheer existence of oneself in the Universe.

But unfortunately, as a society, instead of moving towards spiritual topics, weve moved away from them. Sadly, the major pursuits of the last 30 years have been largely focused on the acquisition of materialistic wealth. Yet for some reason the topic of spirituality is often considered taboo.

But at the crack of the dawn, one can turn the page of life from totally a materialistic one to the spiritual one. The deep sense of it says it expands the capacity to understand others at the deepest level, it allows one to discern both the true cause of behavior without judgment, it serves true needs of others until they learn to meet their own needs.

If we talk about Religion, it cannot be argued that Religion is a different aspect from spirituality for it mostly talks about the conscience and is the only Universal experience that touches all lives. On the contrary, Religion is something that drives us to attain such spiritual well being. It can be considered one of the driving forces of spiritualism. But when the concept of religion is merged with it, it can make a vast difference in society by educating people about the gift of life being given to each individual and can guide them to make the most out of it.

Hence, to lead to the mystery of life, spirituality is the only way through.

Shreya GohelIntern, Goa Chronicle

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Spirituality - From one end to other - Goa Chronicle - Goa Chronicle

Simplicity of spirituality – The New Indian Express

A soul is sent to a lifein the human body for a certain period of time. When it inhabits a body, the soul is still a part of God and is still one with God. The soul, however, is now overpowered by powerfulforces, such as the mind, the body and the outer world,which cause it, over time, to forget itself. The soul slowly begins to identify itself with the body and mind, and the world outside. It suddenly begins to think that it can only receive information from the outer world through the senses. Thus the soul has become attuned to only one channelthe channel of the world.

If we think about our life as watching a television programme, we have multiple choices as to what to watch. Just as there are a dozen network stations and then dozens if not hundreds of cable stations from which to choose, so too there are many activities in this world that we can engage in.

Now, let us take a look at the other choices available to us. This physical planet is not a separate offshoot from all of creation and God. Most religions believe that there are higher regions or existence to which the soul goes after it dies. Scientists and doctors have tried to verify this by documenting accounts of people who were declared clinically dead but had near-death experiences and described something beyond this world. The question is, where are these realms? They are not zones in outer space delineated by borders. All these realms exist concurrently with this one. The reason we are not aware of them is because they operate on a different frequency or vibration.

The saints and mystics tell us that we have the choice to either stay tuned to this physical world, or to tune into the channels of God. God wants us to watch His programming. God is available 24 hours of the day, 365 days of a year. His programming does not turn off at 3 am like some networks do. It is a free station broadcasting all the time without any cable fees. We only need to know how to tune into Gods station.The connection to God is not hard. It is just a matter of making the choice that this is what we want to do.

The steps to do this are simple:

Step 1. Stop identifying with the body, mind, and the world outside, and identify with the soul.Step 2. It requires that when we identify with our soul that we shift our attention to the frequency or the higher realms and ultimately to God.

That is all we have to do. God did not make it hard for us to become aware of our true Home. It is we who have made it complicated.

So how do we accomplish these steps? To accomplish step one, we must withdraw our attention from our body, mind, and the world outside. We must decide to turn off the outer programming. When that programming is in the off mode, then in the silence we will experience ourselves as soul. That is the step that we call self-knowledge.

Once we identify with the soul, we will be able to pick up frequencies that the soul is capable of receiving. We can do a gradual shift in which we go from the consciousness of one region to consciousness of the spiritual realms.

In this process we are not going anywhere physically; we are merely shifting our attention from one state of consciousness to the other. The other state of consciousness does not exist in time or space. They are operating concurrently. We are simultaneously in the other realms and in God at the same time but we are not aware of it because our attention is only focused on one regionthe physical.

So, for step one, if we meditate accurately we will experience ourselves as soul. Once we identify with the soul, then we will also be aware of the inner Light and Sound that is the radiance and vibratory sound of God within us. If we absorb ourselves in the Light and Sound within, we can then attain step two. We can shift our attention into the Light and Sound, which attracts our soul to higher levels of vibration.

It is simply a matter of choosing where we want to put our attention. This is the simplicity of spirituality. God did not make things complicated. It is simple, we just have to choose to transplant the flower of our attention from the world into Gods garden.

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Simplicity of spirituality - The New Indian Express

Upcoming exhibit to show connection between lowriders and spirituality – KRQE News 13

TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) A new exhibit rooted in a part of New Mexicos culture is on its way to the Harwood Museum in Taos. The upcoming display will use lowriders and saints to tell a unique story about religion and artistic expression.

A lowrider is much more than just a car, its part of a culture. The idea of going low and slow has always had a lot of meaning, said Nicole Dial-Kay, the curator of the upcoming Santo Lowride: Norteno Car Culture and Santo Tradition Exhibit. That meaning, Dial-Kay mentions, will be explained at the upcoming exhibition at the Harwood Museum of Art.

Dial-Kay worked with three advisers giving her insight into the lowriding community of northern New Mexico. Thirty local artists including Arthur Low-Low Medina and his wife Joan, are featured in the exhibit.

The couple is giving the museum a trunk. Low-Low painted a mural of Santuario de Chimayo on it. Hes also giving them a bike which is still in the works.

Low-Low, says this show will give all New Mexicans an opportunity to understand lowrider culture and its deep ties with spirituality. The exhibit will open on May 29, and run through October to coincide with cruising season.

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Upcoming exhibit to show connection between lowriders and spirituality - KRQE News 13

THE CREATIVE SOUL Podcast Explores The Intersection Of Creativity & Spirituality – Broadway World

Join Leya Van Doren as she sits down with multi-passionate creatives to talk about their creative process, routines & rituals, and their connection to spirituality. From Broadway performers to rising musicians, poets, painters, and writers, tune into conversations from the heart on what makes you a creative soul.

Leya Van Doren is a creativity coach, podcast host, and collector of stories and seashells. Her work centers on creativity as a tool for mindfulness and hosts creativity workshops to help creatives nurture their inner artist, break free of their creative blocks, and be in community and connection. Find her on instagram @leyavandoren

Episode 21: Madeline Sayet on Story Medicine, Indigenous Theater, and Multi-Disciplinary Artistry

Madeline Sayet is a citizen of the Mohegan Tribe and Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. For her work as a theater maker she has been honored as a Forbes 30Under30, TED Fellow, and recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award from President Obama.

Episode 16: Kuhoo Verma on being a fully formed artist and developing new musicals

Kuhoo Verma (she/they) is an NYC based artist who has been seen at Joe's Pub, 54 Below, UCB, and countless developmental workshops. Favorite roles include Zubeida (X-Files Girl) in Academy Award Nominated The Big Sick and Velma in Dave Malloy's OCTET (Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actor). Upcoming: The film Plan B coming to HULU and a show at The Public.

Episode 12: Florrie Bagel on Embodying Your Fullest Expression and Creating as Energy Exchanges

Florrie Bagel is a songbird artist who weaves with words, music, soul and wildflowers. She created Through the Smoke, an intimate cabaret evening honoring the wit, grit and jazz in the music of Amy Winehouse. She made her Broadway debut last year in The Rose Tattoo and has performed with City Center Encores! and National Tours.

Episode 7: Alicia Albright on Going Inward, a Career on Broadway, and Mermaids

Alicia Albright is an NYC based broadway performing artist, choreographer, creator, avid traveller and theatre dance/yoga/meditation and empowerment teacher and is starting her own company called The Feed Your Soul Project. She has appeared on Broadway as an original cast member and swing in Disney's Frozen the Musical, and was also as the Dance Captain/Swing of Wicked on Broadway.

Listen here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-creative-soul-podcast/id1530398705.

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THE CREATIVE SOUL Podcast Explores The Intersection Of Creativity & Spirituality - Broadway World

Skiing and the spiritual life – Arlington Catholic Herald

Skiing, Ive heard it said, is like golf: the more you try to take control and use your own power, the more likely you are to see poor results. If in golf it is advised to Let the club do the work for you, in skiing it can equally be said to Let the skis do the work for you. Do not try to power your way down the hill; use the skis as they were intended, knowing how and when to properly turn and slow down, and trust that if properly fitted, your skis will get you downhill safely.

Skiing, it can also be said, is like the spiritual life: Most of the time it is advisable to take it as it comes to you.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I went skiing for the first time in a few years. Although it came back pretty quickly, I nonetheless had a fall; not because I was trying to do anything fancy, or power my way down the hill, but because I tried to avoid what I thought was an icy or rough patch, and ended up getting my skis caught in each other. After falling onto my side and sliding down the hill for what seemed like half a minute, I saw my phone, which had fallen out of my jacket, tumbling down next to me, coming to a stop just out of reach. Thankfully I wasnt hurt (well, other than my pride).

Nonetheless, this fall reinforced the importance of taking things as they come, and that when we start to worry or grapple for control, things only get worse. So much of life, Ive come to realize, is about trust. (And weve seen trust fall to all-time lows in so many institutions). But the question of our lives is, can we trust God? And, more importantly, do we trust him?

As I looked back on my fall on the slopes, I thought about St. Peter starting to sink as he looked at himself and his (natural) situation. He didnt trust that he was actually walking on water, or he was seeking a natural explanation for it and began to doubt reality or ignore him who was allowing it. Similarly, my fall was perhaps due to over-compensating or trying too hard to avoid the difficult spot; I just needed to keep skiing.

The wisdom of the saints reminds us that everything that comes to us is in some way given to us by God. Though we can only see part of the eternal picture, he sees all of it, and invites us to trust that he gives us exactly what we need to get us to eternal life even if it includes an occasional tumble down the hill.

Farrell, who is from St. Louis Church in Alexandria, is in his second year of pre-theology at Mount St. Marys Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.


Skiing and the spiritual life - Arlington Catholic Herald